Atlas V for Next NASA Moon Missions Moved for Launch Preparations
The Atlas V first stage for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission was moved on April 27 from its hangar to the Vertical Integration Facility at Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The Centaur upper stage followed on April 30 for stacking atop the Atlas rocket. Launch preparations now will begin for a liftoff targeted for no earlier than June 2. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will orbit the poles of the moon for up to five years surveying and mapping its surface. The Centaur stage of this Atlas V has a unique role of continuing to the moon with LCROSS to impact the lunar surface shortly after arrival. Scientists will observe the subsurface material that is ejected, particularly looking for ice and minerals.
Producer NASA/Kennedy Space Center